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Below is is a tag that I give out to groups when I am teaching about how to be comfortable in your own skin. Have you ever bought a garment that has a tag like this one explaining that the differences or imperfections are what make this clothing special? Well, I think we need a tag like that for our bodies, so I wrote this one.


This body is of quality, detailed construction. Irregular parts are not body flaws but unique and personal touches that contribute to the overall beauty. Slight imperfections and shade variations are characteristics of bodies which enhance the beauty and should not be thought of as defects. Each body is meant to be a unique creation, designed for a purpose and perfectly suited for everyday use. Every body handmade by God is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

Deborah Newman teatimeforyoursoul.com



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"Comfortable in Your Own Skin: Beauty Secrets" Bonus Articles

What's a Mom To Do?

What's a Dad To Do?

What's a Dad to Do?

Dear Dad:

You may be reading this because your wife has been to a conference or reading a book and she is concerned about how to teach your children to have a healthy body image. You may be thinking: She’s just listened to another expert that is telling her something else we need to worry about. I know how you feel.

At the same time, I know that your wife is wired a little differently than you. She is probably a little better at tuning into these things because she has instincts towards relationships that aren’t as strong in you. That’s why God gave you a wife. She helps you just as much as you help her.

If you are a single dad, these truths are even more important for you to convey to your children.

I thought I could give you just a few tips that might help you be the dad you want to be in your children’s lives.

Your daughter is desperate for your approval.

  • She looks to her mom as an example for how to be a woman, but to you to know that she has value as a woman.
  • You show her that you value her by spending time with her, speaking encouraging words to her and even by telling her that she is beautiful.
  • Just by taking your daughter to the park, having a special breakfast date, showing up at her school with lunch; you are saying that she is a very important inhabitant of this earth. She learns that she matters.

A father’s words about his daughter’s body have a huge impact. You may not think what you say matters much, but it does. Be very careful about the words you speak about your daughter’s body, her mother’s body, and become aware of what you say about other women. Be careful, especially at the times you don’t think your daughter is paying attention. An example is during a football game on television. What do you say about the cheerleaders in the skimpy outfits? Your daughter is listening. Any comment you make that is sexualizing or demeaning women will affect your daughter.

Your daughter needs you to express love and concern about her modesty in her dress. This is an area you know much better than your wife, but be careful not to overwhelm them. Get them both to trust you that you only want what is best for them and encourage them both to dress modestly and attractively. You know more than your wife how visually oriented men and boys are. They need you to help them accept this whether they understand it or not. The manner in which you communicate your concerns is just as important and the content that you express.

Your daughter may need to hear certain things from her mother.
You need to build a very special relationship with your daughter, but some of your input may need to come through her mom. If you do have concern about your daughter’s diet or weight for example; it might be wise to discuss this with her mom and together come up with a solution that always protects your daughter’s self-esteem. It may be the same with her clothing choices, it might be better for her mom to express some of the concerns rather than hear them directly from you.

Your daughter loves to feel that she is beautiful to you. This will help her develop confidence and learn not to settle for a relationship with a guy. It’s the best way you prepare your daughter to find her way in the world, not only with guys, but on the job, and in all of her social interactions.


Your sons need you to teach them not to over-obsess about girls’ looks. They need to learn from you how to respect girls even if they are not acting or dressing respectfully. You can caution them that telling a girl she is fat is much different than even speaking those same words to a guy.

Your sons need your approval about their bodies too. Be careful about how you talk about your son’s bodies too. Don’t tease them. They are very sensitive even though they don’t show it. Encourage them to think of their bodies in positive ways and point out the great things their bodies can do for them. Work in the yard together or volunteer for projects such as building a Habitat for Humanity House and show him how to use his strength to help others.

Your sons need you to teach them about their bodies sexual responses. Take is on as your responsibility to prepare your son for puberty. How did you learn about sex and your changing body? Was your father someone you could ask questions? Begin in the preschool years to answer his questions honestly and openly and he will keep asking until around eight. After that time, choose special opportunities to tell him what he needs to know even if he appears to be uninterested. Protect him from pornography by honest conversation and monitoring his computer.

Pray for your children to weather the messages of this culture and help them grow strong against the body-hate that is crushing their spirits for all the wrong reasons.

A Fellow Father in Christ,
Dr. Brian Newman
Minister to Adults
Park Cities Baptist Church
Dallas, TX

What's a Mom to Do?Mothers are Teachers. Did you realize that? The first thing you teach your child is to smile, then to speak, to walk, to use the toilet. I bet you are the one who taught your child the alphabet. You never stop teaching them. As they grow you teach them to drive. You are a lifelong teacher to your children. Most moms don’t sit down with a lesson plan about what they are going to teach their children. Some of you may have never thought about yourself as a teacher until you started reading this article. Those are just the things you do as a mom; it comes with the job.

In the looks-obsessed world we live in, we need to recognize that a big part of our job as moms is to teach our children to like how they look. It is a lifelong journey that begins with how a mom focuses on her own looks. The teaching needs to begin well before adolescence when the world of looks will become a teen’s number one struggle.  Learn what you can do for your child to help them like their looks and have a strong foundation to face adolescence.

Because of my work experience as a counselor, I have been aware of this issue and ended up responding to it as a parent out of my personal concern for my daughter. I raised my children in North Dallas, which is a breeding ground for eating disorders. Each day in my job as a counselor I was meeting beautiful, wonderful young women who were trapped in behaviors that were destroying their lives. I began to get concerned about the messages my own daughter was susceptible to, even though she was still a preschooler. I could see the influence the culture could have over her. In fact, my daughter, Rachel, was only five years old when someone told her she was fat! I was appalled! I wanted to scream at the eight year old girl who made the comment, but I didn’t because I knew where it was coming from. I could see that although neither girl was fat that the neighbor had most likely been told she was fat, and she was just spreading the wrong facts as she was processing them. I couldn’t have as much influence over that neighbor girl, but instinctively I knew that I needed to help vaccinate Rachel from the body-obsessed world in which she was growing up. Interestingly, I asked Rachel if she remembered the comment and it never became a part of her consciousness. I’m sure it would have made an impact if I had screamed at the eight year old. What I did was affirm both girls and tell them they were both growing exactly as God designed them.

I did purposely talk to Rachel about eating disorders and how damaging they were to the lives of the young girls I worked with. We had conversations occasionally, but more importantly, I showed Rachel what healthy body image involves by how I cared for my body and how I responded to her. Sometimes I had to protect her from comments made by family members. I was determined to protect her self-esteem. My calculations were correct and many of her friends dealt with body image and eating disorders to different degrees, but thankfully she never became a victim to the problem.

I asked Rachel what if anything I had done to help her like herself so I could share this with other mothers. Her response was; “It’s not that I think I’m all that great, it’s just that I don’t care.” Inside I rejoiced. That was my hope. I didn’t want to raise a daughter who didn’t learn and grow from her body-flaws, but I did want to raise a daughter who knew there was so much to her worth and value than how she looks.

Now I am encouraging you as a mom to stop and really think about this problem and how it affects your children. I want to encourage you to do what I did and take a personal and purposeful interest in giving your children wisdom about their bodies and how they are made from their preschool years and beyond. I want to share with you some of what I did in hopes that it will help you inoculate your children from the woeful realities of negative body image.

Preschool Years
I didn’t start out talking to Rachel about eating disorders in the preschool years. Other than disagreeing and interceding in the conversation on that one comment made to her when she was five, I left body image out of our consciousness. If your preschooler is asking questions about being fat, etc, then you need to address their questions with the truth. I do want to encourage you to consider where the question is coming from. Most preschoolers are mainly influenced by their home environment. One woman told me that she decided to pick up my book after an experience she had in the dressing room with her then four year old daughter. Her daughter was trying on a dress, looked in the mirror and said, “I look fat in this.” The mom was shocked, and also forced to face the reality that the only place her daughter was hearing such a thing was from her! The work she did on her own body image was the best teaching she did for her preschooler. She learned to like herself and that lesson was passed down through the rest of the years they had at home. Use the preschool years to consider your own body image and recognize that you are modeling body image to her whether you plan it or not.

Protect your preschoolers from sexualized toys and television. Children want to please and they receive the message that they will be loved by how sexy they are. This message is loud and clear in their world if you do not take certain precautions in their lives. Use the preschool years to teach them to be in awe of the way God heals their boo-boos, and created them to run, skip and jump. When I am teaching on healthy body image I tell people that I want them to get to get in touch with “that five year old you.” A five year old will run through a room naked if it is just after their bath and they want something across the room. They are not thinking that their body will turn others on or that they could be judged by how they look. They are simply free to be in their bodies and free to explore the world through the boundaries of what their bodies enable them to do. The sad reality is that I’m afraid our most recent generations will not be able to relate to that statement of remembering the five year old you. Without the intervention, love and protection of wise and caring parents, their body image assault will begin in the preschool years.

School Age
The school age years are important for same-sex peer interaction. Children are learning how to make and maintain friendships outside of the family. There is a bit of individuation going on here. You need to continue monitoring of their television and media influences to the degree that you are able, but these are the years to begin addressing and becoming sensitive to the ways the peers talk about their bodies. During these years you teach them how they are unique, special and different from their peers. You want to get them ready for the dramatic ways their bodies will change from childlike to adult-like. Prepare them by explaining that it is normal for pre-puberty girls to gain extra weight in preparation for menstruation. Teach them how to feed and care for their bodies by offering quality, well-balanced meals from your own dinner table as often as possible.

Middle School Years
These are the years that body image issues will be most apparent in your relationship with your child. If they never have previously, they will begin to scrutinize and consider what kind of body flaws they have. They may even create some body flaws just to fit in with their peers. You do not feel that you have much influence over them now, but you really do. Enable them to spend time with peers, but always with a watchful eye, and pay attention to what is going on in their relationships. What are they learning to believe about themselves from their peers and how close is this to the truth of who they are. When they point out their body flaws, teach them to accept the imperfections they see by being balanced in how to respond to them. If your child has a medical condition of acne, discuss this with your doctor, but don’t become a partner with them in overreacting to body flaws. When you spend so much time and money trying to fix the things they see wrong with them, you are communicating that this is really a bad thing that is not what they need to hear from their parent. Don’t overreact to their complaints but put them in perspective for them. They need their mom to be the voice of reason and not exaggerate normal adolescent body growth and development.

High School Years
I really want to encourage you to be a safe haven for your child, making it your top priority to show them that you love them just for who they are during these years. Everywhere they go, in every interaction they have, they are targeted with body-hate. It’s not the intention of the media to create teenagers with low self-esteem, but since their ads are created with teens in mind they have to point out everything that is wrong with them in order to get them to purchase their product.

Don’t join the chorus of spreading the emphasis on teen beauty. Love your teen. Don’t take responsibility if your teen is overweight, or even if they have an acne problem. Be a welcome coach if they come to you for help on their body flaws. If they don’t ask for your help, don’t give it. If they do want your help, get the balanced help they need. If it is weight, find a dietician who can teach them how to eat and exercise better. Don’t lead them to crazy fad diets.

College Years
The High School and College Years are very important years in your child’s life. You need to be there for them, praying for them as they live in this whirlpool of body conflict. These are years when physical attractiveness is paramount on their minds. Teach them to trust that God’s plan for their bodies will attract the right spouse and help them determine what is right for their career.

General Message that you need to be giving your children at every stage of their lives

  1. You want them to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Proverbs 18:21 says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Nowhere is this more true than in the words that are spoken about a body. I have talked to many parents who would never have dreamed one comment would pack so much power and lead to the place where they are paying $30,000.00 to help their daughter who has an eating disorder. Be aware of the words you speak to your child and even the names that you call them in fun. Also, be aware of the words you speak about your own body.
  2. As your children grow you need to teach them that God knows their body flaws. A lot of North Dallas teenagers are spending hundreds of dollars on normal acne! It’s interesting to stop and ponder what God could have been thinking when He gave pimples to humans at the same time they are most obsessed with their looks. Could God be wanting to show them that life can go on even if you have an outbreak? Teenagers are naturally obsessed with how they look—they don’t need their parents to be just as worried! You need to help them think like George MacDonald writes: “I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”
  3. You also need to teach your children that their bodies are the temple of God. God chooses to dwell in their bodies; that in itself makes their bodies very special. God doesn’t see their body as a place to evaluate their worth. Rather, God gave them a body to experience 80 or so years on this earth learning to love and serve Him. Help them get God’s perspective of their bodies.
  4. Teach boys not to talk negatively about girls’ bodies Guys need to be aware that if they do not over focus on what a girl looks like they are setting themselves up for a lifetime of very gratifying and satisfying sexual experiences. God designed us to develop an irrational attraction to the opposite sex. But when guys or girls are over exposed to sexual imagery (such as pornography) it affects their sexual development negatively and can lead to sexual addictions that result in unsatisfying sex and dangerous or life threatening sex. Guys who do not develop unrealistic expectations of what a woman’s body should look like are much freer to actually enjoy the satisfaction that sexual intimacy and relationship were created to give.

Your job as a teacher in your role as a mom is so important. I want to encourage you to take it seriously and be confident that you indeed can make a difference in your children’s lives. They need your wise and balanced perspective in this culture more than ever!

Here’s an exercise that I use in Workshops and Teachings on Body Image. Ask your child to sit by you and hold their hands, look into their eyes and ask them to repeat back to you each of these statements as you speak them in a loving and sure tone:

You Are Beautiful!
Your body is the temple of God.
You were wonderfully made.
You were knit together by God Himself.
Nothing about your body is unknown by God.
God saw your body before you were even born.
God knows the number of days you will live in your body.
You are created in the image of God.
God knows the very number of hairs on your head.
Your true beauty comes from your inner self.
You can exalt Christ in your body.
God knows everything your body needs.
Because of what Christ did with His body, you are without fault.
You are forgiven.
You are accepted.
There is no condemnation toward you.
You are Beautiful!

(2 Corinthians 6:16, Psalm 139:13-16, Gen. 1:27, Luke 12:7, Phil. 1:20, Matthew 6:25-33, 1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1)

What About Guys and Body Image?

It’s just as important to think about helping guys build a healthy body image as it is for girls. In the last decade there has been an astounding increase in the number of males seeking treatment for anorexia, bulimia, or body dysmorphic disorder. Athletes are particularly susceptible if they participate in sports that emphasize weight like gymnastics, track, swimming, wrestling and rowing. Wrestlers seem to have a higher rate of eating disorders.

The reason for the increase in eating disorders among males seems obvious. In the last decade the media has focused much more on exploiting the male physique. This has done nothing to take the pressure off of women; it has only served to welcome guys into the ranks of those being diagnosed with eating disorders. Sadly, because an eating disorder is thought of as a female problem it is often embarrassing for a guy to ask for help. Eating disorders gain more power over you through secrecy for both males and females, but it is much harder for a male to admit the problem because it is not as socially acceptable for him to be addicted to binging, purging or dieting.

Another form of body image problems that affects males more than females is steroid abuse. The reason for this is the emphasis on muscles for males when it comes to a good body in the view of Western culture.

The etiology of eating disorders is the same for males and females. Food is really not the issue. The problem is the painful circumstances that are going on underneath the food issues such as low self-esteem, family problems, sexual confusion, sexual abuse, and more. If you are struggling with addiction to food, dieting, binging and purging, ask for help.

Typically, guys think girls care more about their body size and shape than girls really do. When it comes right down to it, girls are attracted to a guy’s whole package: looks, personality and abilities. Guys seem to become more fixated on what a girl looks like and they naturally expect that girls do the same. The truth is that guys come in all shapes and sizes, and you need to focus on being comfortable with the genetic makeup that makes you, you.

If you have an eating disorder, tell a caregiver or close friend who can guide you to professional help. Don’t be too embarrassed to admit your problem to someone who cares for you and can point you in the right direction. You are right to feel that some people just won’t understand, make light of your situation or further shame you for admitting your problem. Choose someone who seems to exhibit a knowledge of teens and issues they face to share the problem you are having with body image, food or eating.

What Guys Need to Know:
Accept that guys’ bodies come in all sizes and shapes and your body is unique. Don’t try to be a cookie cutter. Take care of the body you have, but accept the shape it grows into.

Be aware of the media pressure that is subtly telling you that your body needs to look a certain way. Inoculate yourself from its power by acknowledging that underlying message and rejecting it.

Rather than focus on what shape your body should take, focus on how your body serves you. Celebrate the strength you have and the stamina you can develop.

Don’t hang out with other guys who are body-obsessed; even consider changing sports or coaches if they are having a negative impact on you.

Get involved in a Bible study or support group and look up passages in which God tells you what a body is really all about.

I’m saddened by the increasing numbers of guys being affected with body-hate. I pray that you will find the help, hope and healing that God offers to you.

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